Review Summary: This is worth a look
After a very commercial and mixed release of "Difficult to Cure", Ritchie and co. came back one year later with "Straight Between the Eyes." There was another switch at keyboard as Dave Rosenthal stepped in to replace Don Airey. With the band coming back to the studio just a year later, it is amazing how Turner finally feels at place with the band and his voice shines on this record and Ritchie incorporating more guitar into the songs strengthens this release as well.
The best song is the opener "Death Alley Driver." The running and thumping bass line of Roger Glover and the dueling guitar and keyboard solo is specatcular and shows the musicianship of Ritchie and Rosenthal. This could be called Rainbow's version "Highway Star" as it is about driving fast. This is one of the best songs Ritchie has ever done.
What makes this album strong is the riffage. Some of the riffs displayed here carry a couple of the songs most notably "Power" and "Rock Fever." The latter is very fast and high octane and the former has a mid-paced rocking riff with a nice drum beat to carry the flow of the song. "Miss Mistreated" also has some good moments despite the terrible opening with Joe Lynn Turner whining that he never meant to hurt his baby. "Stone Cold" is also a highlight with a haunting keyboard intro and goes into a fierce pounding with the chorus. A great, melodic and emotional guitar solo comes and completes this tune.
A couple songs completely fail on here unfortunately. "Tite Squeeze" is a horrible, slow song with Turner begging his woman to bring him to his knees and give him that tight squeeze. This song literally made me sick. "Tearing Out My Heart" wins the award for another bad ballad about some girl who broke Turner's heart. Nothing interesting, just a typical ballad. The closer "Eyes of Fire" features some ideas not unlike "Gates of Babylon," but the problem is this is a Dio song. Turner sings his heart out on this tune, but it just sounds wrong with Turner singing it and plus the song itself is nowhere near as good as "Gates of Babylon."
Joe Lynn Turner does give one hell of performance on this album though. The way he quickly, but soundly sings "Rock Fever" is impressive as his melodic and brooding vocal line in "Stone Cold." He doesn't seem to force or sound whiny on "Death Alley Driver" and articulates the vocals well. "Power" also demonstrates that he can deliver a fun, energetic rock song just about as good as anyone else.
This is the strongest album of the Joe Lynn Turner era of Rainbow. The guitar and keyboard performances of Rosenthal and Blackmore are supberb, and the vocals of Turner are impressive as well. "Death Alley Driver" and "Stone Cold" are the best on here and any fan will enjoy them. This is a straight-up, fun, energetic rock 'n' roll as it is very enjoyable for fans of Ritchie's work.